Thursday, May 27, 2010

Internet Safety Presentations at the Sarah Greenwood School

The Sarah Greenwood School hosted OIIT for two afternoons of cybersafety lessons last week. Eric Esteves and Joe Kidd went out to the school to talk with students about cybersafety strategies and cyberbullying. They traveled to eight different classrooms and spoke with students in grades four, five, six, seven and eight. In grade four, the presentation focused around the BPS CyberSafety Heroes, while the upper grade presentations focused on cyberbullying. They were very impressed with the knowledge of the younger students about cybersafety and bullying issues. The older students were also receptive to talking about bullying and the effects that bystanders have on bullying situations. There has been a lot of focus on bullying lately, and one of the groups that trainers have been really trying to target are the bystanders. We want students to understand that bystanders have the power to stop bullying, and that they do not have to necessarily stand up to the bully publicly, but can walk away from the situation and not give the bully an audience. Bystanders can also call the the Boston Anti-bullying Hotline at 617.635.5050 to report a situation.

OIIT would like to thank the students and teachers at the Sarah Greenwood for hosting us last week and being so attentive.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Few Articles...

BPS cybersafety expert, Eric Esteves, sent me a few interesting articles over the past couple of days. The first one is a new sexting bill that was signed into law by Governor Patrick a couple of weeks ago.

The new law closes a loophole in the state's obscenity law that caused a conviction to be overturned by the state's highest court. Apparently, the law only covered visual representations of sexually explicit material but now will include text messages, email and other electronic communication.

The next article covers the bullying youth summit in which students from TechBoston Academy took top honors for their video about cyberbullying. We will have a complete recap of the event with pictures of the students at a later date.

The last article comes from the latest Sunday Globe Magazine and is entitled "The Secret to Stopping a Bully?". The premise of the article is that maybe the best way to stop bullying is to educate the bystanders or audience of the bullies themselves. The theory is that by getting the bystanders to walk away, or not pay attention to the bully, it will stop the bully. Bullies draw much of their satisfaction from the reaction they get from their peers. If there is no reaction, then there is no reason to bully. This would be a great discussion to have with your students. Is this even a possibility? What would schools need to do to train their students not to be bullying bystanders? How does cyberbullying play into this theory? There is the potential of having thousands of bystanders to bullying when it takes place online. How could you possibly reach all of those bystanders?

We would love to get your opinions and comments.